Kant's Philosophical View On the Topic of the Categorical Imperative

The Categorical Imperative is a type of imperative that Kant talks about as a moral principal. A categorical imperative is an action that is inherently good in of itself. A hypothetical imperative would be defined as an action that is good in the sense of it leading to something else. Kant goes on to call it “The Imperative of Morality”. The imperative of morality is questioned in possibility, this imperative cannot be show through an example. He expresses his desire to prove that they do exist since we cannot assume that from the start. 

Kant describes The Categorical Imperative as a law, something that cannot be chosen as means to an end. He explains that unlike a hypothetical imperative, a categorical imperative immediately alerts him to what will be involved, a law and a short statement or command. He then uses this to argue that there can only be one categorical imperative. If the statement made has to conform to the confines of the law created, then the categorical imperative has to be one thing. He states that the single categorical imperative is to act only in the way that you can see being the consensus or law for the world. He furthers his explanation of the imperative through the idea of nature, and how the universal law is something that can be described as something determined by universal laws. He furthers the original statement and defines The Categorical Imperative as a way to act as though your actions will become the universal law because you would want it to be so.

He expresses the duties that we our required to follow, he starts with the duties to ourselves. He explains that it is important to express a maxim as a universal law, as in whether or not it could stand as a universal law of nature. He points out that one self-destructive tendency expressed as a maxim could not become universal law, because it would be unnatural. Kant moves on to the idea of whether something in its existence alone could hold absolute value. This would be the only basis for The Categorical Imperative, this basis being human beings. The difference between people in things is described in the want for one and how that is not always felt, but the other, being people, are natural in their ends. Through discussing these topics around our duties to ourselves, Kant furthers his Categorical Imperative. It is now modified as to act in a way that you would treat humanity, and to never use them as a means. He points out why all the previous attempts at discovering the principal of morality failed. 

The three things that researchers saw were that man was bound to the laws, all men were subject to universal laws, and that men had a will of his own. Kant points out that the law did not come from mans will and had to have come from a want or something else. He leads into his third principle, the principle of autonomy. The is the law of other and not of oneself, he continues that every man would then be subject to view and judge his own actions from this standpoint instead. He is emphasizing the idea that men should act in regard to universal law and not of their own will; or that they should reflect one another. For men to have intrinsic value or dignity, they have to be beings that are capable of having absolute value, and a will of their own. Kant explains how will has to exist with rationality which involves the object of this having freedom. He says that free will, and a will under morality are the same, and the categorical imperative is the principle of morality. He explains how freedom is predetermined by a person being rational. He then poses the question of why someone should follow moral principle just because they happen to be rational. This involves moving into the intelligible world, where laws stay the same. The will that man possess is what make the categorical imperative a moral principle, because men are of the intelligible world, they have a duty to act upon natural laws, or at least be aware of when they break them.

To summarize, the actions dictated by a categorical imperative have many different hypothetical endings. Imperatives are actions or idea that can be taken to reach a goal. The Categorical Imperative is an imperative that is focused on the idea from which the actions stem. The Categorical Imperative is not the action itself, or the ends it achieves. 

07 July 2022
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